Indian Premiere of Indo-Welsh Music Collaboration
A new collaboration between Welsh and Indian Musicians, lead by Welsh singer songwriter Gwyneth Glyn and Indian musician Tauseef Akhtar will be premiered in Mumbai this week. It will also be performed at two major festivals in India, the Amarrass Desert Music Festival in Delhi and the IndiEarth XChange in Chennai.
The artists were selected by Wales Arts International and by Donal Wheelan, of Hafod Mastering, who works regularly with musicians in India and particularly the film industry in Bollywood. The collaboration is the first of a series of exchanges under the title "I Adra" spearheaded by Wales Arts International. It builds upon the ongoing success of the India Wales Writers Chain and looks ahead to Cardiff hosting the world music expo WOMEX in October 2013, when Wales will welcome over 2,500 World Music delegates to the Capital to explore our culture and music, do business, and watch showcases of the best world music on the planet.
Taking inspiration from the Hindi word ‘yaatra’ and the Welsh saying ‘does unman yn debyg i adref’, as sung by artist Gwyneth Glyn, the project will create journeys between India and Wales through music and traditional indigenous forms of poetry. Giving voice to the traditions of each nation, the musicians and poets will explore the other’s experiences and cultures, creating fresh contemporary perspectives.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Gwyneth Glyn said:
"I feel incredibly fortunate to be working with such a gifted and soulful musician as Tauseef. His talent for bringing ancient poetry alive with his voice is astounding, and there’s a natural thematic connection between ghazal singing and our folk tradition in Wales. This is the first time in history that ghazal singing has merged with another music tradition, and I’m extremely curious and excited by this unique exploration into our differing yet similar cultural heritage."
Tauseef Akhtar came to Wales in September 2012 to start the first collaboration with Welsh musician and poet Gwyneth Glyn. Fusing guitar and harmonium and the Urdu music tradition Ghazal, with its strictly metered poetic lyrics, and the ancient folk poetry of Wales’s Hen Benillion, Tauseef and Gwyneth discovered a new shared voice and sound. As the collaboration continues, the pair plan to create original poetry inspired by the ancient verses of India and Wales, and to draw on the sound of the Welsh harp - by working with the talented Georgia Ruth Williams - and India’s tabla and harmonium.
This weekend they will premiere their work in a performance in Mumbai before travelling on to festival appearances in Delhi and Chennai.
Organised by the Indian indie label Amarrass Records, the annual Desert Festival in Delhi celebrates contemporary music rooted in the diverse musical traditions of the desert regions of the world. Gwyneth Glyn and Tauseef Ahktar will join a stellar line up of world-class musicians – 50 artists, 12 bands spanning four continents. Whilst the new IndiEarth XChange Festival in Chennai is aimed at creating a platform for international exchange and collaborations between artists and professionals, creating a global collective that jointly builds foundational multi-country networks for sustainable models of industry development and infrastructure.
Eluned Haf, Head of Wales Arts International said:
"I’m thrilled that the "I Adra" project will be premiered in India this week and we are already looking forward to a Wales premiere in 2013. The unique new sound created by blending Urdu and Welsh poetry to folk music that Gwyneth Glyn and Tauseef Akhtar are creating is going to delight audiences in both countries and beyond. The beautiful Gahzal genre of singing love poetry offers a new perspective on the longing or hiraeth of Welsh folk music. With WOMEX coming to Cardiff in October 2013, inspiring international collaborations such as "I Adra" are particularly relevant. It has great potential to take the music of Wales to new audiences globally and brings new inter-cultural dimensions to the arts of both countries."